Tuesday, February 22, 2011

iPad receives FAA certification as an EFB

Executive Jet Management has received authorization from the FAA to use the Jeppesen app for iPad as an alternative to paper charts as a Class I portable EFB.  For now, the authorization is limited to Executive Jet Management.  However, it allows Executive Jet Management to use the app and iPad as the sole reference for electronic charts at all times. This authorization is a result of a months-long in-flight evaluation program, which included non-interference tests.

So what does this mean for Part 91 pilots like us?  Well, it's nice to know that someone has put the iPad platform and at least one app through rigorous tests, and that the FAA has seen fit for pilots to use the combination in the cockpit. Of course, the iPad was being used purely as a chart viewer, not as a navigation device.  So this authorization says nothing about using the iPad as a navigational reference. Additionally, they tested the iPad with aircraft in Executive Jet Management's fleet. So it's still the responsibility of the PIC to make sure that the iPad (or any other electronic device) does not interfere with nav/comm devices in the particular plane he is flying in.

Still, this development is pretty reassuring for those of us who routinely use iPads in flight.

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